We all know that our mindset determines how we feel and, in turn, what we believe we are capable of. But why does that matter so much? As a success coach, I have conversations with people every day about what being successful means. We are all in this thing called ‘life’ together and what a ride we are on! In the middle of the madness and mayhem, the peaks and troughs, the lessons and laughter, and the triumphs and tragedy, is the complex you.
By the time you are an adult, you are an expert on how to judge yourself. You might find that you are being self-critical to the point of sabotage without even realising you are doing it. Your beliefs and values started to evolve from the day you were born. If you aren’t where you would like to be in life right now, it’s likely that there are a number of factors at play, with the most significant being your belief in your personal potential.
Psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School professor John Sharp calls it our autobiographical narrative; the story we tell ourselves about who we are and how everything always plays out. The author of The Insight Cure: Change Your Story, Transform Your Life explains in his TED Talk: “Some emotionally difficult scenes are way over-included — just think of all the things you can’t let go of — and other scenes are deleted, such as times when maybe things did go well. This personal documentary becomes our inner truth, yet it’s a distortion from childhood.” He adds that this narrative becomes our self-fulfilling prophecy; the basis of what we expect from ourselves in the future.
Imagine, instead, what your life could be like if you consciously paid attention to your strengths, passions and goals. When you have the same thought repeatedly, it becomes a belief and here what’s annoying about that: your brain is wired to look for evidence to make you right. It’s a strange throwback to caveman days when humans needed to be kept safe and stay on alert. So, whether your belief is positive or negative, your brain will try to make the belief true.
Here are some common beliefs that people have, which get in the way of them achieving emotional, financial and physical success:
- I am not good enough
- Things will never change
- The risks are too high
- I don’t want to disappoint anyone
- Everybody else is smarter than me
- I will never have enough money
- It’s too late
- I don’t deserve it
If you feel that some of your beliefs are blockers to you living the life you really want, the good news is that there are strategies you can implement to adapt how you think. Even the most happy and successful people in the world have to work on this stuff. So, be kind to yourself and carve out some time in your schedule to consider the following four ways to adapt your beliefs:
- Choose your meaning. We all have negative self-talk that creeps into our thinking – that’s normal! The important skill you need to develop to overcome this is to choose what meaning you are going to give the experience you just had. For some people, redundancy is failure, while for others, it’s a new opportunity. What story are you going to tell yourself?
- Don’t believe everything you think. You have about 60,000 thoughts per day and many of them are habitual, which means that a huge percentage of what you think today, you will think again tomorrow. Start noticing which beliefs might not even be yours – perhaps they belong to your parents or friends. Pay attention to what you are thinking about daily and do an audit of which beliefs no longer serve you. When did you last clean out your brain?
- Get uncomfortable. What you believe about yourself is largely tied up in how much you trust your own decisions and intuition. Create opportunities for yourself that test your capabilities. Sure, this means you might make mistakes, but you will also learn from the activity. Remember to choose the meaning you give to your experiences. When did you last have a brand-new experience that allowed you to create brand-new beliefs about yourself and the world you live in?
- Know what you are good at. Most of us are highly competent in knowing what we need to do better, the regrets we have and can quickly tell people our weaknesses. Imagine the impact of that on your belief system! Sit down and write a list of all the things you are good at, what your passions are and what you value. Then, look at that list every day and make this part of your belief system. What would be different in your career and relationships if you were confident in your strengths?
The world is full of amazing people, so perhaps there are some beliefs you could borrow from them. Some of the greatest writers, CEOs, designers and teachers on this planet do what they do so that you can grow and translate their learning for yourself. Who inspires you? Read a new book, broaden your network and document your new ways of thinking. If you are ready for your next chapter, then this is the perfect time to explore how your beliefs are working for you. Get on it!
- The Coach Place Global team.
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